Last turbine bases finished in time for Christmas at Wales' largest onshore wind farm Pen y Cymoedd

Pen y Cymoedd developer Vattenfall is now looking forward to the installation of the first turbines in the New Year.

18th December 2015

Eryl Roberts and Jason Osborne from the Jones Bros-Balfour Beatty joint venture celebrate the completion of the final turbine tower at Pen y Cymoedd wind farm.

The last turbine foundations at Wales’ largest onshore wind farm have been finished in time for Christmas with the installation of the first turbines due to begin in the New Year.

Construction at Pen y Cymoedd wind farm, being developed by Swedish state-owned energy company Vattenfall, began in February last year.

Since then more than 60 Welsh contractors from 60 Welsh companies have so far been involved in helping to build the 228MW wind farm, which stretches over the borders of Neath Port Talbot and Rhondda Cynon Taf.

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They have been clearing commercial forest, laying 80km of site tracks and 90km of cable, completing electrical connections and pouring around 50,000 cubic metres of concrete to construct the turbine foundations. 
A section of a turbine tower being delivered to Pen y Cymoedd wind farm. Each tower has four sections.

Superhuman effort.

Will Wason, Vattenfall’s project director for the Pen y Cymoedd Wind Energy Project, said: “We have been constructing the onsite civil and electrical infrastructure at Pen y Cymoedd for almost two years now.

“It has been a superhuman effort by all of our contractors, and as the last of the foundations are poured and we start commissioning our substations, we very much look forward to 2016 with the erection of the first wind turbines, and a push towards energisation of the site.

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“And perhaps most excitingly, towards the end of 2016 we hope to generate the first power from Wales’ largest onshore wind farm and start making a serious contribution to the UK’s climate change targets.”

Wind turbine supplier Siemens has begun delivery of the first turbine components via Swansea Docks. Turbine installation is due to being in January and be complete by the end of 2016.

Last month Siemens began the first of 684 abnormal loads and 228 normal loads delivered to the site via Swansea Docks, which will continue until next summer.

The loads travel down down Fabian Way towards Neath. then continue along the A4061 to the site, leaving the public highway at the Tower Colliery Forestry entrance at the bottom of the Rhigos Mountain.

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Community benefits

Vattenfall has also been working with the community and on environmental works. The initial work of a £3m environmental project focussing on the role Welsh mountain peat can play in protecting our atmosphere is complete.

Pen Y Cymoedd wind farm developer Vattenfall in search for board members for community fund.

In April last year, the Blade mountain bike trail was opened following a £300,000 investment from Vattenfall. In addition a big effort was made in raising interest in the scheme’s £1.8m annual community investment fund. 

Emily Faull, Vattenfall’s local communications officer, featured in local advertising for the fund. She said: “We launched local conversation Power in the Valleys in 2012 and since then we have gathered an amazing array of ideas and comments from 3,000 local people and organisations.
“The next task is to set up the community interest company and get organised for first payments expected in late 2016 and early 2017.

“The £1.8m annual fund has the potential to support significant local investment and it is everyone’s hope that the fund will help thousands of people in the region for the next 25 years and hopefully leave a legacy for future generations.”

'It's been challenging'

Civil engineering works by North Wales construction firm Jones Bros and Balfour Beatty are entering the final phase, with all turbine foundations and onsite access tracks complete.

Eryl Roberts, project manager for the Jones Bros-Balfour Beatty joint venture, said: “Completing the 76 turbine bases has been a challenging process, and we’re all now looking forward to seeing the turbine construction phase begin.

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“The site has a variety of different ground conditions which demanded a lot of planning and preparation before the bases could be constructed, and weather conditions have also been difficult to work with for some time now.

“All of the joint venture team has worked extremely hard to reach this stage of the project on schedule, and I want to thank them for their efforts to date.

“Pen y Cymoedd has given our trainees and apprentices valuable on-site experience, and provided valuable employment opportunities in the local area.”

Boost for wind sector

Ralph Windeatt, head of commercial for Associated British Ports (ABP) South Wales said: “All of our ports in South Wales are committed to being part of the growing renewable energy sector and the Pen y Cymoedd wind energy project is just one of the projects we are involved with. It has not only provided a boost for the onshore wind energy sector in Wales, but the broader community as well.

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“We’ve been proud to support the project to date, and now with the arrival of the turbine components through the Port of Swansea, we look forward to seeing the first wind turbines go up in 2016.”
The Rhigos substation for the Pen y Cymoedd wind farm.

The grid connection works being managed by ABB and their subcontractors BBUSL and Dawnus are also reported to be progressing well, with both of the new substations entering the commissioning phase.

ABB project manager Adrian Williams said: “We’re very grateful for the support and cooperation from the community in 2015. It has helped us make major progress on the grid connection, including significant advances on the duct and cable in the A4061 and major deliveries of power transformers to our substations in Rhigos and on the hillside. Work continues to progress towards project completion.”